Nashville, Tennessee, comes to mind, generally so does country music.
Yet while the city holds firmly to its traditional country and western
roots, it is hardly one-dimensional. Now it is also home to an array of
chic boutiques, upscale restaurants, luxury hotels and outdoor activities
to suit any savvy traveler’s taste.
Nashville’s metamorphosis began more than a half-century ago when its city and
county governments merged. This would eventually prove fortuitous, producing an eco-
nomic windfall as healthcare conglomerates, professional sports teams and Fortune 500
companies made big investments in the area. Today, Nashvillians can attend Tennessee
Titans or Nashville Predators games, with both professional arenas in the heart of
downtown overlooking the Cumberland River. Of late, developers and architects are
redefining the cityscape, with Nashville and its housing market widely recognized as
among the fastest-growing in the country. And new luxury hotels like the stunning mirrored JW Marriott Nashville are within walking distance of the city’s many attractions.
It’s easy to see why Nashville is often referred to as “Nashvegas” on Broadway, where
neon is taken to another level. Saunter down Broadway to discover musicians playing
nightly to crowds of tourists and agents, hoping to land a record deal. The Stage on
Broadway houses a labyrinth of stages on various floors, each with a different lineup
every night. Nudie’s Honky Tonk and Tootsies Orchid Lounge are popular destinations
for live music or line dancing. Wildhorse Saloon, just off Broadway on Second Avenue
North, offers free dance lessons nightly. If there is one country bar that transcends, it is
The Bluebird Cafe. You won’t find The Bluebird on Broadway, though. To be part of this
exclusive audience — which gets to spectate from church pews — you will need to travel
to Hillsboro Pike. Be sure to make your reservations far in advance.
Country isn’t the only music you’ll find in Nashville. Stroll off Broadway through
Printers Alley and find jazz and blues at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar or a
lively cabaret at Skull’s Rainbow Room. Space is limited at Skull’s, so arrive early or
find yourself on the wrong side of the velvet rope. Just off Broadway, take in a show